Album Review

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The Art of Noise: (Who’s Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise!
The Art of Noise
(Who’s Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise!

As subtly influential as Kraftwerk's Trans-Europe Express, the Art of Noise's Who's Afraid Of? is a brash blend of experimental rock and New Wave that was way ahead of its time. With its sticcato beats, erratic vocal samples and found sounds, the album is at times irksome but always groundbreaking. The proto-political "A Time for Fear (Who's Afraid)" kicks things off with portions of broadcasts from the U.S. invasion of Grenada, building to crunchy programmed beats and a minimalist sub-bass that most certainly informed the likes of future pioneers like Björk and Tricky. The album's biggest hits, "Close (To the Edit)" and "Moments in Love," are about as dissimilar as can be; "Close" is a signpost of the era, replete with vintage '80s samples, car engines and the oft-sampled vocal "hey!" while "Moments in Time" is utterly (and ironically) timeless. The 10-minute-plus epic is to electronica what Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" is to baroque. The album ends with a trio of off-kilter experiments including the organ-imbued "Momento."

Label: ZTT Release date: November 2, 1984

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